Washington, DC

From Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s Office:

“Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), co-chair of the Quiet Skies Caucus, today said the response from the National Park Service (NPS) to her February 26 letter requesting limits on helicopter flights over the District of Columbia represents progress. Although NPS did not agree to specific limits on the flights, they did commit to inform the community when they have a prolonged mission.

“In my letter, I asked NPS to fly these helicopters at higher altitudes, limit nighttime flights, limit flights over residential areas, and provide advance notice of prolonged training missions in a particular area,” Norton said. “The noise and disruption from these flights are constant for D.C. residents, and I remain committed to reducing them as much as possible. I thank NPS for their timely response and look forward to working with them to make more progress.”

The response from NPS follows.

Dear Delegate Norton,

Thank you for your letter dated February 26, 2021, to Deputy Director Shawn Benge, Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director of the National Park Service, regarding helicopter noise within the District of Columbia, and specifically within Anacostia.

The National Park Service and the United States Park Police recognize and appreciate their connections to the District and its residents, both in proximity and in service. The National Park Service and United States Park Police take pride in providing District residents and visitors with scenic and safe spaces for their well-being, enjoyment, and recreation.

The United States Park Police has provided medevac, search and rescue, and law enforcement services to the residents of the District since 1973 through mutual aid agreements with the Metropolitan Police Department, the District of Columbia Department of Health, and the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. As you recognized, the United States Park Police Aviation Facility is surrounded by a dense residential area and an open expanse of park land. Additionally, the facility is situated along one of the busiest helicopter routes within the District and serves as a landing site for government helicopters when the airspace is congested.

Compounding the airspace management, helicopters are limited in altitude when transiting along the Anacostia River.

Please be assured, before accepting any mission, the United States Park Police Aviation Unit considers and works to minimize the risks posed to the public, including noise and property damage. We will work to engage and inform the community when prolonged operations are expected. If you have any questions, please contact the United States Park Police Chief’s Office at 202-619-7350.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Flynn
Associate Director, Visitor and Resource Protection
National Park Service

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